Snake bite warning to pet owners

A PORT Fairy vet is urging owners to be vigilant with an increasing number of pets suffering snakebites this summer. 

The hot weather has brought with it plenty of reports of snake sightings in the area.

Port Fairy vet Charles Blackwood said a number of family pets had been presented to his clinic with suspected snakebites.

“Snakes in our area are most commonly tiger snakes, even though their appearance varies, and some brown snakes,” he said.

Dr Blackwood said signs of snakebites in cats and dogs included vomiting, confusion and loss of consciousness. He said snakebite symptoms could develop over a short time or as long as 24 hours, with dogs and cats often having varied reactions.

“Because of their behaviour, cats are often more affected before it is noticeable and often the first sign of a snakebite is the pupils in the eyes become enlarged and do not close in bright light. Another sign is the animal is ‘drunk’ or weak in the hind legs.

“Dogs are usually noticed wobbly in the hind legs, while cats are often fully paralysed before they are noticed.”

He said dogs and cats bitten by a snake would have trouble breathing and may have red-brown urine.

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